Thursday, September 23, 2010

getting the word out.

I am currently doing a bit of work web work for for LENscience, a science communication group that is part of the Liggins Institute. They're good at what they do (though the website needs updating (cue me), which is communicating science to schools, students and teachers alike. And I came across this this morning. Which is another admirable and successful attempt to engage with young people. There numerous endeavours to get scientists and teenagers connecting, which is grand. One of the sentiments that I wholeheartedly agree with is "the majority of today’s teenagers are not destined to become scientists, but they will all be people and citizens." A population base with a sound knowledge of how science works is, I believe, essential to a rational society.

Where then, are the organisations dedicated to reaching the population today? It's all geared towards teenagers. Which might, end up influencing some parents, but it's not really communication of the concepts or of what is happening in science these days. There's Café Scientifique, which might be working in other cities, but here in Auckland, it's something you have to search out. If you don't know it's there, there is nothing.

Randomly out socialising, when my proclivities become known, I get questions. Some of them a painful and dense (isn't it all just a theory?), so I know the interest is there. Maybe not from everyone, but from enough people that I feel ther eis a large gap in the communication of science to the general population. As David Dobbs said:
science has no importance or value until it enters the outside world. That’s where it takes on meaning and value. And that’s where its meaning and value must be explained.
And while I might have a few ideas to if not solve then at least, lessen the problem, I certainly don't have the funds. For now, I think I might just get a t-shirt made with "Scientist" printed on it and try and to sensible answer some of the questions that come my way.

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